Fun Facts for Today – February 29

February 29

It’s Leap Day


1288 Scotland established this day as one when a woman could propose marriage to a man; in the event that he refused the proposal he was required to pay a fine
1504 Christopher Columbus uses his knowledge of a lunar eclipse that night to convince Native Americans to provide him with supplies
1692 Sarah Osborne, Sarah Good, and Tituba, a slave woman, were arrested in Salem Township (now Danvers), MA charged with inflicting suffering on four girls through the use of witchcraft
1840 In Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta The Pirates of Penzance, Frederic celebrates his 21st birthday and gains release from the pirates’ indenture
1892 St. Petersburg, FL is incorporated
1908 Dutch scientists produced solid helium
1916 In South Carolina, the minimum working age for factory, mill, and mine workers is raised from twelve to fourteen years old
1936 Baby Snooks, played by Fanny Brice, debuts on the radio program “The Ziegfeld Follies of the Air”
1940 For her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, Hattie McDaniel becomes the first African American actress to win an Academy Award
1940 In a ceremony held in Berkeley, California, because of the war, physicist Ernest Lawrence receives his 1939 Nobel Prize in Physics from the Sweden’s Consul General in San Francisco
1940 Bob Hope hosted his first Academy Awards ceremony, a role he would perform more than 20 times
1944 The Office of Defense Transportation, for the second year in a row, restricted attendance at the Kentucky Derby to residents of the Louisville area; this was an effort to prevent a railroad traffic burden during wartime
1952 In New York City, four signs were installed at 44th Street and Broadway in Times Square that told pedestrians when to walk
1956 Pakistan becomes an Islamic republic
1972 John Lennon’s US immigration visa expired; it was the beginning of a 3 1/2 year fight for Lennon to stay in the US
1972 Hank Aaron becomes the first player in the history of Major League Baseball to sign a $200,000 contract
1980 Buddy Holly’s glasses and the Big Bopper’s wristwatch were found in old police files by the Mason City Sheriff; the items were worn by the men when their plane crashed of February 3, 1959
1988 South African archbishop Desmond Tutu is arrested along with 100 clergymen during a five-day anti-apartheid demonstration in Cape Town
2008 The Other Boleyn Girl opens in the US

1840 John Philip Holland, “father of the modern submarine” who, in 1898, designed and built the first underwater vessel accepted by the US Navy
1860 Herman Hollerith, inventor of a tabulating machine that was an important precursor of the electronic computer
1896 William A. Wellman, Academy Award-winning director (A Star is Born, Wings, The Public Enemy, The Ox-Bow Incident)
1904 Jimmy Dorsey, jazz clarinetist, saxophonist, trumpeter and big band leader
1916 Dinah Shore, singer, actress and Emmy Award-winning television personality
1928 Joss Ackland, actor (Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather, Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey, The Hunt for Red October, Lady Jane, Z Cars)
1936 Alex Rocco, Emmy Award-winning actor (The Famous Teddy Z, The Godfather, The Stunt Man, That Thing You Do!)
1944 Dennis Farina, actor (Crime Story, Romeo Is Bleeding, Get Shorty, Law & Order)
1952 Tim Powers, science fiction and two-time World Fantasy Award-winning author (Last Call, Declare, On Stranger Tides)
1956 Aileen Wuornos, serial killer
1960 Richard Ramirez, serial killer (the “Night Stalker”)
1960 Tony Robbins, motivational speaker and best-selling author (Unlimited Power: The New Science of Personal Achievement)

2004 Jerome Lawrence, playwright ,who with writing partner Robert E. Lee, wrote Inherit the Wind, Auntie Mame and First Monday in October, dies at 88

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